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Dear Friends, 

As I write this, September is upon us, and we just completed PAL Awareness week. We had an amazing response with over 50,000 pieces of awareness materials being sent out for distribution around the country.  Our goal is continue finding as many ways as we can to get in front of the public with our message of hope.  So many people are suffering like I did, until I found PAL.  As I reflect on those days, I never want to have that feeling again of desperation and loneliness. Knowing that others have gone down this road before me and made themselves available to me brings me sense of relief.

Many of you know that I spent 32 years in law enforcement in Arizona. Over those years I saw the devastating effect of drugs on our community, but I also saw trends. It seemed like waves of different drugs would be affecting our community and our country. I remember when methamphetamine became popular. Then the rise of rise of opioids and, for a while, cocaine and then many synthetic versions of drugs like bath salts were prevalent.  Now, of course, even in my retirement from law enforcement, I continue to see trends as we deal with fentanyl and the fact that almost any drug, including marijuana, may be laced with fentanyl making it a potentially deadly concoction. 

Just when you thought fentanyl could not be worse, I saw an article about how they are now making the pills in bright colors – presumably to attract younger kids to the drug. I do hope and pray that someday we will see the trend be positive and that these illicit drugs will not be so readily available, however, in the meantime, it means more and more families are being affected.  Younger and younger children are getting involved and more families are looking for help.  We have been working on some information/training on dealing with adolescents being affected. Soon, we will have a presentation on this topic through an online session.  This is a sad reality, but so many parents are dealing with children even pre-teens that have been exposed to these dangerous drugs. 

Now, to turn this conversation around.  I continue hearing amazing stories as people write to us and let us know how PAL has changed their lives and how, many times, it has led to their loved one seeking help.  I know not everyone is freed from the grip of substances, but many are, and many parents and family and friends have found the ability to move forward with their lives and be positive role models for their loved ones. My prayer is that when it comes to trends, we see families heading in a healthy direction. We know that people do not need to feel alone, and they get the tools they need to navigate this world they never wanted to be in. 

As we head into fall, the Power of PAL event is coming! This is our 8th annual event, and we are excited to announce this in this newsletter.  We continue to work on the details, but we would love to see you on November 5th here in Phoenix. If you cannot make it, we plan to share the event live online (more details to come). Our usual bloggers have some great insights and, once again, thank you to all our volunteer facilitators that faithfully open their meetings each week. If you have thoughts about getting a meeting going in your community, please reply to this email and we will get you information on what it takes.

God bless,

Kim Humphrey
Save the Date - Power of PAL
The POWER of PAL is an experience of hope for all those affected by or connected to a loved one suffering from substance use disorder. It is an inspirational, informational and touching national event that will leave both in-person attendees and virtual viewers encouraged and wanting to stay connected.

Early Bird Discount Tickets Now Available

Registration for Virtual Now Available
Power of PAL Presenting Sponsor
Early Bird Discount Tickets
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Guest Blog:
Turning the spotlight on

Our regular counselor blogger, Josh Acevedo, is on break for three months, so we are bringing you perspectives from a PAL Facilitator.

I read in a book by Earnie Larsen* that there is scant difference between an abstaining chemically dependent person and a co-dependent person. Both have living problems, intimacy problems and issues with self-esteem. All these issues, Larsen says, are about the ability to function in relationships. I found this intriguing and I couldn't help but recall when I first suggested to my husband that we attend a PAL support group meeting. He looked at me with all seriousness and said, "But we are not the ones with the problem." I finally convinced him that we were not going there to work on ourselves but to find out how to get both of our sons off of drugs. I should mention that, at this point, we were nine years into trying to "fix" them our way and it wasn't working. After several weeks of attending the meetings (which I found extremely helpful and my husband did not), the facilitator spoke to my husband directly during the check in and asked if he'd like to say something. To my surprise, he responded and said, "Yes, actually, I do have a question. When are you going to tell us how to fix our sons?" Without skipping a beat, the wise facilitator said, "Well, I'm sorry but I won't be able to tell you how to fix your sons, but I can help you start working on fixing yourself."

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4th Annual PAL Awareness Week
PAL Awareness Week 2022 a record-breaking event!
During PAL Awareness Week, you all distributed over 50,000 pieces of PAL literature throughout the United States beating last year’s numbers. This effort put PAL materials into the hands of others letting them know about the free hope available through the organization.
Thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers that came to the PAL office to pack up 135 orders that were mailed out. Each one of those orders was requested by PAL facilitators, meeting members and supporters who believe in our vision to make PAL meetings available to all parents of addicted loved ones.
The next step was even equally as important – people scattered across the country to disseminate those materials to help spread the word about PAL.
Stay tuned for more exciting news about the results of PAL Awareness Week and THANK YOU for your continued support of PAL.

It's in God's hands

I have two children, one with my first husband and one with my current husband.
My son from my first marriage has never recovered from his father leaving us.  He has always been exceptionally bright, and he was a joy growing up. When he was 11 years-old, issues with his biological father became evident and a downhill slide began at that point. I don’t know how my son got started drinking alcohol, but when he was 14 years old, I got a call from the local hospital that they had him and he had alcohol poisoning. He had been at a concert with friends and was stumbling up the steps before the concert even started, so he was taken to the hospital. That was the first we knew of the drinking.

Since that day, things have been hard with my son. His high school years were hell for us. We had to call the police twice during those years – one of those times he was taken to a psychiatric hospital for a week (for which he has never forgiven us). However, that proved to be a boundary that slowed down his bad behavior. His senior year in high school was more peaceful because of that and, amazingly enough, he graduated. In the intervening years, he drank and used every drug that one could ingest. He lost his house and his marriage. Finally at 45 years old, he went into a 4-week rehab program.

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Beauty is always there...if we take time to notice

The other day while reading Station 11, a fictional apocalyptic story, I was struck by the prose and narrative in a way that granted me a moment of perspective. Despite society and civilization literally falling apart in this story, the human spirit persisted (we are remarkable creatures in our ability to endure despite all seeming lost at given moments). Even in the face of tremendous loss in this story, people still found a way to recognize beauty in the world and endure. The overgrowth of nature re-staking it's claim in the metropolises of the world. Flowers blooming from cracks in the asphalt. Fields of overgrown flora and forests filled with the Earth’s fauna where industrial factories once stood. The incredible depth and scope of the night sky free from the light pollution of the past. The main characters of the story relished in these moments with gratitude despite destruction surrounding them.
"Survival is Insufficient" was their mantra (cribbed from an old Star Trek episode from 1992), so they carried on the traditions of the arts - music, symphony, theatre - in this new world devoid of the creature comforts (that we all have grown so accustomed to, and most likely have come to neglect). They encountered unimaginable danger navigating the recesses of what was left of humanity and civilization to share these traditions and performances to others – all to bring a modicum of joy and happiness to its remaining denizens – to remind them that life can be good. To give themselves a sense of purpose.
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